City Council candidates on ways to help the economy |

City Council candidates on ways to help the economy

When we can afford to, we need to expand it. We have some land banked and there are several large, older, city owned sites that might work. We have completely neglected the demand/need of rental housing. Those who don’t qualify for the lottery need apartments. Not every valuable and trained person our town needs wants to buy or is able to make such a commitment. Efficiencies and one bedrooms are the big demand. A number of privately owned units, negotiated during developments, are almost uninhabitable. The employees have no recourse. We need to inspect these units and enforce the codes and agreements. Finally, we pay too much and get too little for our housing construction.

For the good of the community, we need to make it as easy as possible for entrepreneurs to start new, small businesses in Aspen by simplifying the approval process and cutting the red tape. Aspen must have a vibrant core without empty store fronts. We need to attract diverse tourist groups and special events to stimulate our retail, hotel and restaurant sectors. Aspen needs to encourage our existing base of vacation homeowners ” a huge tax base ” to spend more time in our special mountain town we all cherish. Their presence creates jobs, housing, open space, and support for our non-profit and cultural organizations.

Encourage and support community-wide marketing efforts through packaging and promotions, highlighting our current summer events schedule. We have a lot going on this summer and should be proud of it! We have an opportunity to bring new “Aspen guests” to our town using this economic downturn as a chance to broaden our tourist base. We know that once someone experiences “Aspen” they will be hooked and will return season after season and year after year. The City Council can help to bring the marketers of our community together with coordinated and consistent messaging.

We don’t need a rebound; we need a rebuild-with sustainable economic values. Let’s return to valuing our affordable tourist/local economy and reject the speculation economy that got this town and this country into so much trouble. No one in this race is qualified to undertake such an effort anyway “which gives me an idea ” let’s send all our local “Keep Aspen Expensive” branding experts/candidates to Washington ” let the whole world benefit from their opinions ” it’ll cut down on our gassy emissions too! Economical ” two birds, one stone ” that’s the sort of ideas a vote for Jack Johnson will bring!

Find more dollars for marketing and explore ways to support grassroots business ideas and efforts to promote Aspen.

We need to get the “New Energy Economy” snowball rolling, growing, picking up everyone, everything in its path (to success). While critics will (no doubt) attack this description, they probably don’t know the feeling of launching off a cliff on a 15-inch powder day (with a solid base) and sticking the landing. The anxiety before the launch quickly disappears once one is airborne, balanced, ready, and confident enough in one’s skill that not matter what the conditions upon landing ” it will be OK.

First, as a councilmember I would review what we are doing right and keep doing that. I would increase the marketing budget. Aspen does a great job of marketing itself and we should keep on course with our marketing efforts. Highlight our events out to the public a bit more: Food and Wine, Film Festival, Music Festival. Theater, ballet, on-mountain events. Believe it or not many people are not aware of all the amazing cultural events that occur in Aspen. Many for free. Work to getting the family that comes for one week to stay longer and/or come for another week with incentives.

The first thing I would do to help the Aspen economy would be to meet with our business community. From retailers and restaurants, Commercial Core and Lodging Commission, arts and non-profits to the Aspen Skiing Co. and Aspen Chamber Resort Association, I would seek collaboration and cooperation to address this issue. I have a long record of proactive business support. While on Council, we relaxed sign codes, provided event support, made code changes to promote locally owned and serving businesses, all the while maintaining Aspen character. I live on the Hyman Avenue mall and I have more daily interaction with a variety of businesses than any other candidate. I urge voters not to make this a one issue election. City Council can provide some leadership but no candidate alone can change a far-reaching problem like this. Council members must make decisions that are balanced and with long term sensibility. I have always worked to ensure and enhance a prosperous, balanced and sustainable community. We will overcome this challenge and thrive again, together.

I would increase our summer marketing budget by an additional $300,000, at least. It could possibly prevent more retail and service businesses from going dark and costing even more employees their jobs. It would also increase sales tax revenue, thus helping re-pay the actual marketing costs incurred. The additional funds would also help us keep market share so crucial with our competition outspending us drastically. Aspen itself is a terrific value when compared to our resort competitors ” if we can just get people here Aspen will sell itself and the business community will respond according with value deals as we have already seen.

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